Pinks Moon over Park
Year’s biggest and brightest supermoon on April 7-8
In North America, we often call the April full moon the Pink Moon, Grass Moon or Egg Moon. In 2020, this April full moon also presents the closest (and thereby largest) supermoon of the year. This full moon more closely coincides with lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its monthly obit – than does any other full moon in the year 2020. Will you notice that the moon is larger than usual? Probably not … unless you’re a very experienced and discerning observer.
The angular diameter of a supermoon appears about 7% bigger than that of an average-size full moon, and about 14% bigger than the angular diameter of a micro-moon or mini-moon (year’s most distant and smallest full moon), perhaps not enough to be noticeable to most of us using the eye alone.
On the other hand, will you notice that the full moon of April 7-8 is particularly bright? Yes! Maybe … if you’re an observant moon-watcher. That’s because supermoons can be up to 15% brighter than an average-size full moon, and 30% brighter than a micro-moon.
The moon comes closest to the Earth for the entire year when it reaches perigee on April 7, 2020, at 18:08 UTC (translate UTC to your time zone). Of this year’s 13 lunar perigees, this is one of only two lunar perigees that comes closer than 221,830 miles (357,000 km). The other close lunar perigee (356,912 km or 221,775 miles) falls on October 16, 2020, approximately 3 1/2 hours after the October 16 new moon.
Full moons at apogee, or farthest from Earth (left) and perigee or closest to Earth (right) in 2011. Composite image by EarthSky community member C. B. Devgun in India. Thanks, C. B.! Using the eye alone, it’ll be difficult to notice any size difference in the full moon of April 7-8, 2020. But moon-watchers might notice that this is a very bright full moon! Plus Earth’s oceans will feel an extra pull.